Using a github repository is new to me, and I need to document some things that may be obvious to more experienced programmers. Here are, as far as I understand it, the minimal documentation standards for a github repository.

The first thing you need is a name for your repository. All my repositories (so far) are public, so I want a reasonably descriptive name. The githum site playfully suggests names like “furry-parakeet” and I will stick by that convention. Most of my repositories (so far) are two or three simple words connected with dashes (understanding-lasso, sparse-matrices).

If you use github, they will tell you that every repository should have three files:

  1. .gitignore
  2. README.md
  3. LICENSE

I’m not thrilled about including the third file because it has no extension, but it’s a mistake for a beginner like me to deviate from well established standards.

The .gitignore file tells git that there are certain types of files that might exist on your local computer but which are not needed or wanted in the repository. This is important, because you